Usually it’s the lights and fireworks that light up people’s faces at Ladysmith’s Festival of Lights, but this year a marriage proposal did it first.
Mike Morgan proposed to his girlfriend of almost six years, Avegale Walker, on the main stage at about 5:30 p.m. in front of friends, family and a whole bunch of strangers.
“I had been thinking about it for a week,” said Morgan, who was nervous about coming up on stage and letting the entire town watch and listen to his proposal. “It seemed that it went off really well.”
Walker had suspected a marriage proposal was going to happen at Light Up, but that suspicion was shot down.
“I knew he had a ring,” Walker said. “But he had thrown me off by saying not to expect anything at Light Up because ‘I don’t have your ring.’”
With all the people around, Walker figured Morgan wouldn’t have the guts to propose to her in such a public place anyway. She ran into a lot of people she knew and it wasn’t until festival emcee Don “Duck” Paterson called Morgan up to the stage that she became suspicious again. He then called her up and on bended knees, made the proposal.
“I had complete strangers come up to us, giving us a hug, it was so overwhelming,” Walker said, explaining what happened after she said yes and came off the stage. “It was so great to get that support from citizens who didn’t know who we were.”
Both of Walker’s kids witnessed what happened. Dion, 12, got on his phone and started texting family and friends right away. His sister Arianna, 11, told her mother that this would be a story at share day at her school.
The big day is set for 2013 in Ladysmith. Walker said she wants to enjoy being engaged and wants to take time planning her perfect day. Setting it that far in the future will hopefully guarantee that her family and friends from Prince Rupert will then make it.
Morgan and Walker met at a work Christmas party almost six years ago. Walker brought a couple of girlfriends to her work party and Morgan was invited by his best friend who worked with Walker.
“When he walked in, I thought ‘oh, who is that cute guy with Chad,’” Walker laughed. “I didn’t even really know he was interested or even liked me. It wasn’t until New Year’s Day 2006 when he got the guts to call me and it went from there.”
This is the first public marriage proposal in the 24 years of Light Up, according to Paterson.